David Brandt Berg was the founder and leader of The Family International. Working outside of mainstream denominations, he recruited, trained, and inspired thousands of predominantly young adults, many of whom had no former interest in denominational Christianity or in becoming full-time "missionaries."
Father David was a strong proponent of innovation. As Family administrator Peter Amsterdam recalls, “Dad was constantly seeking ways to improve things, and would change almost anything if it would make things better for others. This especially held true when there were areas of improvement needed in the Family. He would go to any lengths to make conditions better. When he saw a need, he acted on it, and didn’t let up until it had been remedied. …As Dad said, ‘God moves. He is a moving God. He is never still. He is always doing, going, saying, effecting change in every sphere of creation.’” (ML #6:7). (“Moving Forward: The Need for Change!” Good News # 615, Feb 1995)
This hallmark of Father David’s leadership has been carried over by his wife and successor Karen Zerby and her new husband, Steven Kelly, current administrators of the Family. Regarding this transition in leadership and Father David’s continuing role via messages received in prophecy from Father David “beyond the veil”, Peter explains, “Knowing that God is a moving God, and that Dad, someone who loved change, is now helping us from behind the scenes in the spirit world, we can certainly expect that the Lord will continue to help us to move, grow, progress and change. We believe that the Lord took Dad so he could help us in an even greater way from the Halls of Heaven: so he could help usher in the wonderful things that Lord has planned for His Family.”
Publicly known as "Moses David" and later as "Father David," and endearingly called "Uncle Dave," "Mo," or "Dad" by Family members, he was born in 1919 in Oakland, California, to Hjalmer and Virginia Brandt Berg. David had a rich Christian heritage. Many of his forefathers as well as both of his parents were deeply committed Christians who challenged the status quo of their day. His maternal forefathers were German Jews who converted to Christianity in the mid-18th century, and subsequently joined the Dunkards. State persecution of this offshoot of the Lutheran Church led the Brandt family to migrate to America in 1745.
John Lincoln Brandt (1860–1946), also underwent a dramatic conversion in his mid-20s and became a Methodist circuit rider, and later a leader of the Campbellite movement (now known as the Churches of Christ and the Disciples of Christ), building and pastoring 50 churches throughout America (and one in Australia). David's mother and father were also pastors and evangelists, but were expelled from the Disciples of Christ for testifying of Virginia's divine healing, which was contrary to that denomination's dogma. (See Virginia's book, The Hem of His Garment, about her healing.) They later served with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, though often operating as independent pastors and evangelists. His mother, Virginia Brandt Berg (1886–1968), was one of the outstanding female evangelists of her time. David spent much of his childhood and teen years in evangelistic service with his parents.
David later became an ordained Christian and Missionary Alliance minister. During his years as a pastor and evangelist, he became increasingly convinced of the ineffectiveness of much of the organized traditional churches of his day, which he termed "churchianity." He finally reached the conclusion that "the true Church are the genuine Christian believers in God who follow Jesus—the born-again, saved Body of Christ—not a building or a denomination or a religion".
Websites of Interest
The Family— 1992-2002: A Decade of Transition By Lonnie Davis and Claire Borowik